China's livestock sector is very dynamic as a consequence of increasing demands for animal products. This paper explores the spatial distribution of different groups of livestock in China. Relations between the spatial pattern of livestock distribution and a large number of socio-economic and biophysical variables have been derived by correlation and regression analysis. The thus derived relations are used in a spatially explicit, dynamic simulation model to explore near-future changes in land use and livestock distribution. A baseline scenario and a scenario with improved management of grasslands are evaluated. The results indicate that for both scenarios most increases in livestock numbers are to be expected in China's agricultural region.